This blog has been up since 2009 and has had a psychology category since that date. But… this is the first post in the category. In fact, this post aims to finally establish the category for future posts. Certain human behaviors can be noticed repeatedly as patterns and can be observed in a large percentage of people. These patterns that seem to be general to all humans are best described as basic human nature. By looking for and understanding this basic human nature we can better understand what a person is really thinking or trying to communicate. Or, better yet, when we seek truth, we can understand what a person is really thinking when we think they intend to mislead us away from truth. We can use science to arm ourselves with the best possible questions for interrogating liars, fabricators, and the subconsciously ignorant.
I have a friend that doesn’t put much stock in psychology or people who call themselves psychologists. He has some funny and valid points he makes when he diminishes the legitimacy of a professional psychologist. But, I disagree with him on many points as well. I believe by understanding core human motivations for behavior, you can predict and better understand a person’s actions and can prepare yourself for statistically standard responses and situations. You can read the posts in this category and decide for yourself. Am I perceiving these signals correctly, or am I totally full of shit. Go ahead, peer review it; because if it can’t stand up to peer review, it’s just horse shit anyway.
The following is an example topic of a psychology post forthcoming in this category: if someone prefaces what they’re about to say with “Ya know, I’m not really worried about this, but did you hear that…” that person is about to tell you something they’re worried about. This behavior of verbally disclaiming the true sentiment of what you’re about to say seems to hold true regardless of the situation or subject. I call this behavior hypocritical disclaimer theory and find it to be standard among all people. Hypocritical disclaiming, for example, will be the topic of a future post. Some more examples of hypocritical disclaiming to drive home the point:
- “Ya know I’m not a racist but did you hear the one about the…” – The person is a racist and has declared otherwise to tell a racist joke without judgement.
- “I really like Linda but have you noticed that…” – The person doesn’t really care for Linda and is about to tell you why.
- “I don’t mind if he hangs out with other girls, it’s just that…” – This girlfriend doesn’t like that her boyfriend hangs out with other girls and is about to tell you why.
The list goes on and on and exemplifies a certain lowest common denominator of human behavior in my opinion. The need is felt to say something which could be misconstrued as socially unacceptable so an attempt is made to indemnify yourself from judgement. By stating a disclaimer before you make a hypocritical statement, you offset the remark you’re about to make hoping to escape the judgement you assume will ensue if you don’t make the disclaimer. Look for this behavior within yourself. It’s been there all your life and perhaps you didn’t notice you do it, but you most certainly do. It’s a universal behavior that can help you see what others truly think despite their words. Further, it can also help you catch when you’re lying to yourself.
Two basic fields of study exist in economics: micro economics and macro economics. Micro economics concerns itself with local decisions and personal decisions and how the economy works at the lowest level. Macro economics looks at the big picture like a satellite image of map and aggregates all those little micro economic decisions into some kind of bigger pattern. Psychology and Sociology are analogous to economics and similar to micro and macro economics in this same regard. Psychology is at the individual level of a human behavior and sociology is the aggregate result of many individuals behaviors looked at as a larger whole.
I have written many posts about sociology on this blog and made made many references to the father of sociology Charles Montesquieu. What good sociologist does not attempt to understand psychology as well? None. Ever. Having said that, stay tuned for posts in the psychology category that look at human behaviors observed in the office space and in life in general made by a regular guy from North Farmington High.